by Scott Boyle
SportShorts has always had a fascination with mascots, as evidenced by the favorite fictional Workin’ LaVerkins.
Isn’t it interesting that Monticello and San Juan High schools are the Buckaroos and the Broncos?
According to the internet, a Buckaroo was a cowboy of the Great Basin and California region of the United States. It comes from the anglicization of the Spanish word vaquero.
Bronco is another Spanish word, which means, “rough”, and was used by the Spanish to describe wild unbroken horses.
Not too long ago, the Buckaroo mascot was named the number one mascot in the state of Utah by one random blogger (talesofhoffman.blogspot.com).
Said Hoffman of the Buckaroo moniker, “The colors [of the Buckaroos] are orange and black. That’s no coincidence: a high school mascot is basically a slice of Halloween in the everyday life of a student. …, the policy-makers here could’ve gone with something safe like Cowboy but instead came up with something great.”
As for the Bronco mascot, interestingly, a few years ago, one statewide newspaper suggested the Broncos change their mascot to “Razzle-Dazzle” after the Broncos won a memorably wild 36-20 2A state football championship over South Summit.
Thank goodness, the Broncos resisted the suggestion, stayed the course and are still the Broncos.
Wouldn’t you say its appropriate then for the two high schools, whose mascots echo the wild west culture, to have a Rodeo Club? Seems only natural and that’s just what there is.
The Blue Mountain high school rodeo club has been around for years, mostly unknown, but there nonetheless, strongly associated with families with horses.
The Rowley family of Monticello started the club with the Grovers in Blanding – Eric and Janalee – doing the same. Before long, the clubs merged.
After the Rowley kids graduated and the family moved, the Grovers have kept things going in Blanding.
The Blue Mountain rodeo club is a member of the Utah High School Rodeo Association, which was organized in 1961, and competes with in UHSRA rodeos, whose stated goals are the development of sportsmanship, horsemanship and character in youth.
Not a part of the Utah High School Athletic Association, the UHSRA has produced seven national team championships, three second-place finishes and 54 individual national champions.
Youths participate in a variety of events, such as cutting, calf roping, team roping, barrels, break away roping, goat tying and pole bending.
With growing interest in Monticello, Kim Young of Monticello hoped to start a club here. Young, who was on the rodeo club in high school in Nevada, qualifying for Nationals four times before riding for the Utah State University rodeo club in college, contacted Janalee Grover in Blanding and the merge was back in play.
This year’s team consists of seven kids, Krista Grover from Blanding and Race Young, Davi Bowring, Shalyn Hart, Kendall Harris and Shelly Lewis in Monticello. Currently they are competing in the Dixie Six, a three-weekend rodeo in St. George.
The local club practices every Monday at the arena in Monticello. If the weather isn’t the best, they might go into the show arena and practice.
During the winter, they will still practice once a week, but have to travel to Moab to use their indoor arena. “If you want to do well,” maintains Young. “You have to work all year, to keep your horses in shape.”
The kids use their own horses. In fact, if they are in more than one event, they might even have two or three horses.
Race Young, son of Kim, has a horse for cutting and has qualified for state already this year. Cutting involves a horse and rider who, working together, demonstrate the horse’s athleticism and control of cattle by separating cows from a herd.
After the cow is “cut”, the horse does most of the work on its own preventing the cow from returning to the herd. Young also has a horse for roping.
Krista Grover has qualified for state in pole bending, kind of a slalom course for horses. The horse and rider must be in natural sync here too, as they must seamlessly weave their way through a series of six poles, placed 21 feet apart in a timed event.
Bowring is close to qualifying in goat tying, a rodeo event where the participant rides to a goat tied by a 10 foot rope, dismounts, catches, throws and ties any three of its legs together.
The goat must stay tied for six seconds and the participants are judged according to how well they handled the goat, the horse and the action. Some of you parents out there might be interested in that event.
Young and Grover are directing the action this year, though this is Grover’s last year, having run out of kids, so Young will take over. “We have some kids in junior high coming up,” says Young. “It’s the biggest its ever been right now.”
The fall season ends with the Dixie Six this month, with the spring season next culminating in the State Rodeo in June. If a participant finishes in the top four at state, they qualify for Nationals. The Utah state team is the defending National Championship team.
Buckaroos and Broncos? Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?
Six local scholar athletes were named to fall sports Academic All-State teams. Broncos Bronz Eldredge in football, Mary Royer (tennis), and Ann Pugh (cross country) were named from San Juan High School.
Monticello Buckaroos named are Nathalie Reay in cross country, and volleyballers, Molly Anderson and Averi Christiansen.